You see so many wild things on TikTok that it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s an act. Take, for example, homesteading. Between being locked down over the last few years and the astronomical cost of groceries, this “trend” has definitely been enjoying a current cultural moment — which explains why so many of us have quote-unquote homesteaders popping up nonstop on our TikTok FYPs. While not every TikTok of this type goes viral, one certainly has. Nearly 6 million people have already watched Kerinna Sanchez of FarmerKHomestead explain how her family freeze-dries spaghetti.
As in, yes, you can freeze-dry spaghetti to save, reheat, and eat later.
Even for those who don’t feel the need to homestead and/or doomsday prep (there’s often a fine line between the two) or lack the resources to do it properly (more on that in a minute), the idea is still fascinating. After all, homesteading isn’t new; people have been doing it for generations. In this day and age, though, it seems more common to come by someone who’s an “aesthetic” homesteader rather than the real deal. Maybe that’s why Sanchez’s recent posts are getting so much attention — she seems to walk the walk and talk the talk.
If you’ve ever eaten an MRE (meal, ready-to-eat), you may be wondering why anyone would want to freeze-dry spaghetti. But given that spaghetti might just be one of the most popular dishes in the world, the thought of chowing down on it at the end of days is pretty damn exciting. Plus, it isn’t just doomsday preppers who freeze-dry food. In fact, Sanchez doesn’t even identify as one. Her TikTok bio reads “homesteader, gardener, homemaker.”
As she describes in her videos, their family often preserves food for the “short-term,” meaning they make it ahead to save time a few weeks or months into the future. Freeze-dried spaghetti would fall under foods they make for “long-term.” The idea? Store extra of your favorite foods now while you have the funds and flexibility so that if your circumstances change — or grocery prices keep rising — you’ll have a decent supply of food to get you through any hardships.
Also piquing people’s interest? In a follow-up video, Sanchez actually reconstitutes a package of the freeze-dried spaghetti… and says it tastes just as fresh as the day they first made it.
Granted, the process of freeze-drying spaghetti brought up a lot of questions and a few reality-check observations. Like, for starters, the equipment required to freeze-dry is expensive. The freeze-drying machine itself ranges in the thousands of dollars, and then there’s the 3D printer Sanchez’s husband uses to make tray clips, the MRE bags, a vacuum sealer, and more. Other viewers pointed out that even just having money for any extra food right now — not to mention so much that you can store it away for months without eating it — is a stretch.
Still, the idea of being someone who preps to this degree is intriguing, at the very least. So, let’s unpack some of the information Sanchez provides and fill in a few other blanks.
What’s the difference between freeze-drying and freezing?
EZPrepping breaks it down into many steps. But, in the simplest way possible, the easiest way to explain the difference between freeze-drying and freezing is to note the extra word “drying.” When you freeze something, you’re allowing most water to remain. That’s why you often have an excess soupy, separated mess when you thaw things. Freeze-drying adds to the “drying” process by eliminating most of the water. Water is one of the leading causes of spoilage in food.
Why freeze-dry instead of freeze?
- Shelf life: Once you freeze something, it needs to stay frozen. In the event of a real emergency, you most likely won’t have electricity so you won’t be able to keep that frozen food frozen and safe for very long. Freeze-dried foods are “shelf stable” and aren’t required to stay cold.
- Weight: Freeze-dried food has moisture removed, making it a lot lighter. Lighter food is optimal for traveling… and storage, really.
- Nutritional Value: Freeze-dried foods typically hold more of their nutrition than frozen foods.
One thing worth noting, though: Freeze-dried foods do take longer to prep and require “rehydration” before you can eat them. This typically looks like adding some hot/warm water back into your food and giving it time to work its magic. As long as you have fire and stored water, too, you should be good to go.
Can you freeze-dry without a freeze-dry machine?
According to TheManual, you can freeze-dry food using your freezer or a cooler and dry ice, it just takes significantly longer. You’ll also want to do more research on this and talk to someone who has done it before. The last thing you want to do in an attempt to keep your family fed through whatever disasters may come is give them a massive case of food poisoning. (Insert end-of-the-world joke here.)
What should you keep in mind when freezing or freeze-drying spaghetti?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you want to make the most of your saved spaghetti:
Store in portion sizes or meal sizes.
Once you reheat a frozen or freeze-dried meal, you can’t really easily or safely refreeze it. In other words, you don’t want a bunch of leftovers. Divvy portions up into smaller sizes to avoid waste.
Store it flat.
If you’re freezing a whole constructed meal, as the Sanchez family did, keep things flat and even to help freeze and thaw quicker. Once frozen, break it down into manageable sizes and use plastic wrap or MRE bags to store them, keeping out as much air as possible.
Get out as much water as possible.
Strain and shake those noodles of excess water, to start. Also, investing in a thicker sauce that doesn’t list water as a main ingredient, like Michael Angelo’s or Rao’s, will go a long way in better-tasting reheated spaghetti.